Dashon Goldson was coming off an All-Pro season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He was hardest hitting safety in the league and now he was a free agent. He wanted to be compensated like the best safety in the NFL but the 49ers let him walk and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers backup plan was to sign Craig Dahl, a starter for the St. Louis Rams, but nowhere near the talent or potential of Goldson.
So it was no surprise when the 49ers used their first round pick on a safety from LSU, Eric Reid. It was clear from the first round pick that Reid would compete for the starting free safety position with Dahl, a spot he would eventually win. It is not common that a team that was just in the Super Bowl replaces an All-Pro safety with a rookie but Reid has made 49ers’ fans forget about Goldson quickly.
In his first six games as a pro, Reid has a team-leading three interceptions and a fumble recovery, shining on a defense that is littered with veterans at every position. He started the season quickly with two interceptions against two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. But Sunday’s game against the 49ers NFL West rival, Arizona Cardinals, may have been his best game.
Against those Cardinals, he had one interception that led to the first points of the game to put the 49ers up 3-0. Later in the game, he had a game-changing fumble recovery when it looked like the Cardinals were going to take the lead. The man who fumbled for the Cardinals was All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, his first fumble as a pro. The fumble recovery resulted in an 18 play, 83 yard drive, lasting over nine minutes ending in a Kendall Hunter touchdown that put the game out of reach. The 49ers eventually went on to win 32-20, keeping pace with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.
Goldson may be better now but Reid has the potential to be a 49er great. He is much better in coverage, quicker and still can deliver bone-crushing hits that Goldson was known for. It looks as though the 49ers made the right decision and letting Goldson walk because now the 49ers have someone younger, cheaper and potentially better in Eric Reid.
Did the 49ers make the right decision letting Goldson go? My answer is clearly yes.
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